Tag Archives: IF Comp 12

IF Comp ’12: Spiral, Kicker, The Lift, Last Minute

And so we enter the last days of the Competition, where I kick myself for ignoring it for the past few weeks and try to finish as many of the remaining games as possible. Spoilers follow.

 

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IFComp ’12: Fish Bowl

Fish Bowl by Ethan and Joshua Rupp is a short and simple bit of horror. It’s about a destitute beach comber to whom weird, somewhat unnerving stuff happens. It’s not very long and the action is railroaded. This presents a problem as its not always clear on what action needs to be performed to move the story forward. I was a little miffed I had to turn to the walkthrough at one point. What I needed to do should have been obvious, so maybe I’m just an idiot. On the other hand, it wasn’t clued at all which is a big whiff in my book. The there’s a few standout bits of writing but for the most part its fairly awkward with clumsy lines both opening and closing the game. Implementation issues border the game on all sides. I especially liked

>sleep
You are getting more exhausted.

You aren’t feeling especially drowsy.

There’s no ABOUT command so it’s unclear if Fish Bowl was beta tested. If it was it could have used a little more to help round out the experience. What’s here is okay but it’s pretty thin and there’s not much to see or do.

As for the story… eh. Weird stuff happens and then you find out why. I wasn’t particularly affected or creeped out, but as far as slightly unnerving weirdness goes it does establish a tone and feel. I just wish it had pulled me in more, spent more time establishing the mundane or character before letting the feeling that something was not right slowly seep in. Overall, not a waste of time, but doesn’t stand out in any way.

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IFComp ’12: Living Will

Living Will by Mark Marino is a hyperlink game made in Undum. In it you explore the will of E. R. Millhouse, the founder of a world-wide network company, as one of his heirs. A counter keeps track of your inheritance which rises or falls depending on which links you follow, which heir you play as, and if you choose to claim the other heir’s benefits as your own. The actual numbers seem to be randomized. I played the same path two times in a row and got wildly different outcomes, but the game isn’t about making the most money. It’s about encountering a life. I don’t have much to say (as the meat is exploring for yourself) except that I was enthralled, playing over two-dozen times building a picture of Millhouse and exploring variations. Recommended.

On the other hand, “Downtown Abby?”

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IFComp ’12: The Test is Now READY

The Test is Now READY by Jim Warrenfeltz is a series of moral what-ifs. My high school science teacher used to love these things. “What if a terrorist was going to blow up the world unless you shot your baby in the face?” Coming from him (and being in high school) they seemed like important examinations of my morality. Plus they were abstract enough to quash creative answers. “I’d call the cops!” “Can’t do that shoot your baby or blow up the world.” The situations in TTiNR instead try to be plausible scenarios and in that they lose their power.

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IFComp ’12: Castle Adventure

I’ve been in the mood for a good old fashioned treasure hunt and hoped that Castle Adventure by Ben Chenoweth would be it. The game starts:

Welcome to Castle Adventure!  Written and directed by Ben Chenoweth (Copyright 2002 Grinnan Berrit Software).  Adapted to Inform 7 by Ben Chenoweth, 2012.

and I’m already confused. Apparently this is an Inform adaptation of a unreleased (?) 2002 game. But it plays like something from the dawn of text adventures. Is it supposed to be a homage? The help text says that only two-word commands are recognized but it seems to just be the standard Inform parser, so I doubt that any specific coding was done to make the game more archaic on purpose. What we have is just a really sparse, lazy game.

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IFComp ’12: Escape from Summerland

Escape from Summerland  by Jenny Roomy and Jasmine Lavages.

Ugh, what an awful title. It conveys nothing about the game aside from “escape” which suggests some kind of big pulpy adventure, but then Summerland? Is is an amusement park? The name of some fantasy place? Its bright and cheery which is at odds with escaping. What I pictured was some sort of sci-fi setting where you had to get free from a place where happiness is enforced. That’s the not the case, but upon starting the game it’s not really clear what the setting or situation is either. It’s not for a good handful of turns before it becomes clear that this game is about three unconventional protagonists trapped in an abandoned circus. Once the groundwork is established Escape turns into quite the nice little puzzler. But yeesh that beginning.

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IFComp ’12: A Killer Headache

A Killer Headache is a game with a soundtrack that has The Mountain Goats on it. That is to say, it knows what it’s doing. It’s also by Mike Ciul who’s partly responsible for Gigantomania in the ’10 Comp. I liked Giganto and thought it should have placed higher. It was a bit avant-garde and that may have been what turned people off. Killer Headache is much more traditional, but the pendulum may have swung the too far in the other direction.

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